Thursday, 31 July 2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin's Covers

The excellent F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is being turned into a movie. Presumably this means that we can expect a horrible edition of the book using movie poster art in due course. However, since the story is also in the public domain in most of the world, a number of publishers have decided to publish their own cash-in editions. All the books shown below came out, or are shceduled to come out, in 2008.

The story itself concerns (surprise!) Benjamin Button, who is born an old man and then ages backwards to become a baby, living his life in reverse.

First we have the Scribner edition, which contains only the one story, in huge type.

Then the Coyote Canyon Press edition, which includes other stories, and avoids illustrating the title at all by using an old piece of art done for another great Fitzgerald story, Bernice Bobs Her Hair. This was originally the cover art of Flappers and Philosophers, Fitzgerald's 1920s story collection.

Then we have the Juniper Grove version, with more clock action.

And the Penguin Modern Classics UK version--with another clock.

Penguin UK are simultaneously releasing a Red Classics version, sans clock.

Then there's a graphic novel version, with art by Kevin Cornell.

Finally, we have the best of the bunch: an elegantly simple illustration for the cover of the Penguin Classics US version.

He Dishes It Out, But Can He Take It?

In the interests of fair play, I should really post my own submission to the now-closed My Penguin gallery (discussed more here) here for other people to pick apart. It's for Marcus Aurelius and his wacky Meditations.

Here it is in context:

Here it is in full (click for a legible version):

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Compare and Contrast

Just a short one, after the Gorey madness (96 covers!).

Here are the UK (left) and the US (right) covers for Carlos Fuentes' upcoming Happy Families. One is brilliant. One looks a bit like an arts-and-crafts manual (either for quilting or tiling). Which is which?

Applause for Bloomsbury UK, a subdued silence for Random House US.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Edward Gorey Bonanza Part 5

The conclusion is here! These are the books by Edward Gorey (some first published under a pseudonymous anagram like Ogdred Weary, Regera Dowdy, E. G. Deadworry or D. Awdrey-Gore) with his own artwork on the covers and throughout.

Then there's The Dwindling Party, his pop-up book:

If you want to read more Gorey, almost all of his work has been collected in the four Amphigorey compendiums: Amphigorey, Amphigorey Too, Amphigorey Again and Amphigorey Also.

Edward Gorey Bonanza Part 4

Here we have something of a mixed bag: a representative sample of Edward Gorey's covers for other people's books that don't fit into one of the three other categories. Here you'll find crime novels, poetry, cookery, biography, guides to gravesites, fantasy, non-fiction, and a book consisting entirely of transcripts from the nocturnal utterances of a man who talks in his sleep.

I should note that I suspect The Recently Deflowered Girl was actually written by Gorey under a pseudonym, but because I'm not certain I'm including it here, rather than in the next post, which will look at Gorey's covers for his own books.